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United States

The main frequency bands used in the United States of America in communications are GSM850, GSM1900, 3G (850/1900 and 1700/2100) and 4G (Verizon USA 4G, Sprint Clearwire WiMAX and T-Mobile 4G). For you to better understand what frequencies are used by what standard here is some data for you:

 

  • 700MHz – this band is used with 3G and 4G technologies and 698-806MHz frequencies. It is planned to be used for GSM frequency in the future as well
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  • GSM800 – not exactly a GSM but SMR iDEN technology that uses 806-824MHz and 851-869MHz frequencies. Though soon it may also be used for CDMA
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  • GSM850 – main cellular band in USA used with GSM, CDMA and 3G technologies. Uses 824-849MHz and 869-894MHz frequencies
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  • GSM1900, or PCS – secondary cellular band in USA used with the same GSM, CDMA and 3G technologies but with 1850–1910MHz and 1930–1990MHz frequencies
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  • AWS – used for 3G and 4G technologies on 1710–1755MHz and 2110–2155MHz frequencies
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  • BRS/EBS – used for 4G technology with 2496–2690MHz frequencies

 

Although the main frequency band that was used in USA in the first place was 800MHz (AMPS), it is now replaced with GSM850 as the new primary cell phone call band. Now let’s look at each of those frequency bands more closely.

 

700MHz

 

This frequency band is relatively new and there is not much to tell about it. In the past years it was used for TV channels streaming but with the evolvement of digital TV this frequency band was released and auctioned in 2008. The 700MHz band was separated into five blocks of frequency ranges. Most of the licenses from those blocks (A, B, C, D, E) were sold to mobile phone operators like Verizon Wireless, U.S. Cellular, Cavalier Telephone, CenturyTel, Qualcomm and AT&T Mobility. The smaller part was sold to radio and television broadcasters Triad Broadcasting, Small Ventures USA L.P. and EchoStar. The 700MHz block D was sold to no one and still remains free.

 

GSM800

 

As it was mentioned earlier, this band is used for SMR iDEN technology. SMR is a Specialized Mobile Radio that was created when the FCC began to grant business with commercial 800MHz two-way radios in the late 1970s. SMR systems are used by many companies like construction, towing or taxi. It is a radio systems which allow dispatch to talk with the group of people at the same time, but not too many (as a rule, up to five simultaneously). To improve this system, iDEN technology was invented. It allows increase the number of people taking part in SMR two-way conversations. In the nearest future mobile phone service operators are planning to add CDMA technologies to this SMR iDEN cocktail and use the band for cellular communications.

 

Wireless Frequencies In USA

 

GSM850

 

It is also called W-CDMA850 or CLR, and sometimes even confused with GSM800 band because there was an AMPS frequency band that used this frequency spectrum and it was called 800MHz band, though now 800MHz and 850MHz bands are separated. GSM850 is the main frequency band used by most of US mobile communication service providers. In addition, modern CDMA and 3G technologies are also use part of this frequency spectrum for their work.

 

GSM1900

 

Also called PCS (Personal Communications Service), this frequency band is the second most commonly used in United States for mobile communications. It has exactly the same usage as GSM850 only it was not used for the early communication technologies. It uses TDMA technology like GSM does; only GSM uses frequency hopping and wideband transmission to improve the interference resistance. It is also worth to mention that PCS is the name for GSM1900 band for the whole world except for the Hong Kong where PCS is the name for GSM1800 band.

 

AWS

 

This frequency band is used for 3G and 4G connections. 3G technologies are used in mobile phones and mobile communications, wireless voice calls, mobile internet, mobile TV, video calls and so on. 4G technologies are used in ultra-broadband mobile internet access, smartphones, laptops with wireless USB internet modems, tablets and other modern gadgets. In addition many modern electronic entertainment features are also rely on 4G – mobile gaming, IP telephony, mobile HD TV, video conferences, 3D TV, etc. Still the name AWS is not popular and we used to say 3G or 4G.

 

BRS/EBS

 

It is also not a popular abbreviation to see or hear. BRS is commonly known as MMDS band. It is used primarily for television transmitting and broadband networking with the help of 4G technologies which allow rural citizens to get access to the wireless internet in places where cable, DSL and satellite internet is either unavailable or too expensive. Yet mobile phone companies plan to use part of BRS band for telecommunication purposes. EBS was an Emergency Broadcast System until 1997 when it was replaced by EAS (Emergency Alert System). It is used for emergency messages from the President of the United States, statewide and local emergency information for the citizens and any important national news, though neither EBS nor EAS were ever used.

 

Bottom Line

 

United States use six main frequency bands for telecommunications, mobile communications and internet access (700MHz, GSM800, GSM850, GSM1900, AWS and BRS/EBS). Those frequency spectrums are used by many national telecommunication companies, mobile phone service providers and wireless internet access providers under different licenses to grant people the services they need.